I’m thinking about picture books lately. Probably because I’m in the middle of writing my first one and I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. It’s a story, yes, but the stories I’m used to writing usually come in at 100,000 words—not 200.
Just like my ideas for 300+ page books, this picture book idea took years to come together. I finally wrote it, revised it, sat on it, revised it again, and then finally just sent it to my agent. Thankfully he likes it! We’re revising right now, and meanwhile, I’m paying closer attention to picture books than I ever have before.
Some really well-loved books in my house include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Goodnight Moon, Jamberry, A Quilt for Baby, Snuggle Bunnies, and anything by Sandra Boynton. Some of them are really well known, like Llama Llama Red Pajama and Where the Wild Things Are.
Others not so much, like Snow Day and Finklehopper Frog. Our shelves are loaded with picture books but like all kids, we have our favorites and we go back to them time and time again.
One of the things I love in a picture book is an unexpected point of view. In Snow Day for instance, there is a rather big twist at on the very last page. (Sorry, no spoilers! You’ll have to read it!)
In We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, a whole family is telling the story, not just one character. And really, who would have ever imagined a llama in red pajamas?
The 2014 Spring/Summer Picture Book Preview just came out and there are a bunch of fantastic looking books featured. My little book may not ever happen, but it's been fun trying something new.
What are some of your favorite picture books? What are you tired of, and what would you like to see more of?